I wish I had a dime for every time I heard someone make this claim. Unfortunately, this not only comes from skeptics, but also from some within the church. I’ve covered this question in depth in my book “Let There Be Light“, but will share just two main points in this brief newsletter.
Point #1: What do you mean by evolution? That’s the first question that needs to be asked. The word “evolution” is used in so many different ways that we first must define what we mean. Some use the term simply to refer to “change over time”. In their minds, because we do indeed observe change in nature, evolution must be a fact. The problem with this is that even though we certainly do see change, it’s not the kind of change that would be required for “molecules-to-man” evolution, which is another definition of evolution altogether… and this is the one that the academic community has in mind when they tell us “evolution is a fact”. (For much more detail, see my book.)
Point #2: What do you mean by science? That’s the second question that needs to be asked. There are a number of definitions of “science” and most of them are somewhat similar to each other. The point here isn’t to determine which one is “correct” but to point out that there are actually two types of science (operational and historical) and distinguishing between the two is crucial, especially when addressing the creation/evolution debate.
Operational science typically deals with things that can be done in a laboratory, performing multiple, repeatable tests, which also allows for potential falsification of one’s initial hypotheses. It is responsible for creating things such as lightning-fast computers, cell phone, space shuttles and finding cures for diseases. It’s great stuff! It may be surprising, but creationists and evolutionists are really not arguing over operational science. Too often skeptics claim that Christians reject science and naively choose to blindly believe the Bible. The truth of the matter is that science owes its origin to Christianity! The majority of scientific disciplines were founded by Bible-believing Christians! They believed that God was the creator of life and the universe and set out to learn more about Him through the observation and study of His creation. Sir Isaac Newton was arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived and he wrote more about faith and the Bible than he did about science! The Bible is not “anti-science” in any way, especially when we keep in mind that there is very often a difference between “science” and “scientist’s opinions”. While there certainly exists conflict between clear teachings of the Scripture and some scientist’s opinions, there is truly never a conflict between science and the Bible.
The other type of science is called “historical” science and it deals with events that occurred in the unobserved past, are not repeatable and cannot be directly tested in the present. This is actually where the controversy lies! Different scientists have different guesses and assumptions as to what they think happened in the past when no one was around. The Big Bang falls into this category. We were not around to observe this event. We cannot repeat it in the present and cannot test it directly. Scientist can only make guesses and assumptions as to whether or not the Big Bang occurred as well as how and when it supposedly happened.
Interestingly, God’s original six-day creation also falls into this same category. We were not around to observe this event; we certainly cannot repeat it in the present and cannot test it directly.
Both of these views are models that claim to be accurate accounts of our true history. What we then set out to do is to observe the world in which we now live (via operational science) and see if what we find is best explained by the evolutionary worldview model or the biblical creation worldview model. When we do, what we find is that operational science continues to confirm the sensibility of the creation worldview while at the same time consistently reveals seemingly insurmountable barriers to the legitimacy of the evolutionary worldview. Much more regarding these types of evidences is covered in this month’s Featured Resource.
In summary, both creation and evolution are worldview models that make claims which can potentially be supported by operational science, but not proven (because of the limited nature of operational science). While the creation worldview enjoys a great deal of support from operational science, the evolutionary worldview not only lacks support, but has a lot of evidence that is strongly and directly in opposition to it.